A Leadership Guarantee

A Leadership Guarantee - 

Moscow hosted a science and practice conference of ROSATOM’s specialists on the Proryv Project, which, if successful, will ensure Russia’s leadership in the world’s power engineering.

The Proryv (breakthrough) Project is to develop nuclear power technologies of a new generation, which will base on the closed nuclear fuel cycle and fast neutron reactors. The project itself is the platform for development of the new generation of nuclear power technologies supported by the relevant federal target program.

At the conference “New Technological Platform of Nuclear Power. Proryv Project” head of ROSATOM Sergey Kirienko noted that the successful implementation of this large-scale task would help the Russian nuclear specialists to strengthen their world leadership in nuclear power.

To maintain the positions

ROSATOM’s head says “the Proryv is a feasiblebusiness project, which is to result in a competitive product to ensure Russia’s leadership in the world’s nuclear power and in the global energy system on the whole in the 30–40–50-year prospective.” At this point, Russia is already the leader in this area; as Kirienko thinks, this is owing to Minsredmash (the former USSR ministry responsible for nuclear industry) and “the groundwork done in the Soviet time and the precise point of time the country’s leadership chose to back up the nuclear industry.” “The result is that we are such a leader today; over the recent years we haven’t failed a single tender where we elected to participate,” the head of ROSATOM said. By the end of this year, ROSATOM’s overseas orders portfolio for the decade should be over US$ 100 Billion, Kirienko said.

At the conference “New Technological Platform of Nuclear Power. Proryv Project” head of ROSATOM Sergey Kirienko noted that the successful implementation of this large-scale task would help the Russian nuclear specialists to strengthen their world leadership in nuclear power.

Safe future

Contrary to stereotypes, nuclear power today is one of the safest human activities, Yevgeny Adamov, ex-minister of atomic energy of Russia and head of the Proryv Project, believes. In spite of higher costs of nuclear power plants (due to enhanced safety systems) and two well-known severe accidents at nuclear plants, nuclear industry development program still alive in the world. However, its share in the energy mix is below 6%, and a number of problems have to be solved to raise it.

They include, among other, efficient use of feedstock, i.e. uranium-238, burning of minor actinides, consistent and gradual abandoning of enrichment, as well as ruling out of recovery of uranium and plutonium in the course of spent fuel recycling, as well as any movements of these materials. Sergey Kirienko said the scale of nuclear power development programs has fully restored after the accident at Fukushima-Daiichi NPP. The geography has changed, according to Kirienko. The major demand is shifting towards developing countries. This changes nothing in terms of the global development of the sector. The head of ROSATOM believes the tasks faced by power engineers have been already formulated: mankind should support the economic development with energy and, on the other hand, make it safely.

This is the Proryv Project in particular exists for. In frames of the project the safety is understood as ruling out situations where would be a need to evacuate people in case of an accident and to stop using the land. Another condition of safety is nuclear nonproliferation safeguards in the background of fuzz around Iran and North Korea’s programs. “If you want to massively develop large-scale power generation, guarantee that the technological path you suggest make impossible the nuclear weapons proliferation,” the head of ROSATOM said. The third condition is to reduce the dependence of feedstock, in particular, uranium-235. The fourth one is to reduce volumes of accumulated nuclear waste on a large scale.

In addition, there is a set of commercial conditions, which make possible to enlarge the nuclear industry development scale. “The flexibility in terms of power ranges of reactors is of the outmost importance,” Sergey Kirienko said. A large leap, he says, is possible if Russia is capable of offering a medium power reactor in the market: a minimum demand in 100 up to 400 MW reactors could arise in 15–20 years to count 500 up to 1,000 reactor units. “Nearly all our partners say us why did you give up VVER-440 technology?” the ROSATOM head says. “If you had offered us a VVER-440 that met all current standards, a volume of orders for the Russian nuclear industry would have been times as higher.”

Science and practice conference of ROSATOM’s specialists

A new stage

ROSATOM’s deputy CEO Vyacheslav Pershukov says the Proryv Project today enters a new stage. R&D has been nearly completed and the project infrastructure construction will start soon. Two fast neutron reactors are to be built: sodium-cooled BN-1200 and lead-cooled BREST-OD-300. The BREST-OD-300 reactor detailed design should be available in June 2014; its design refined upon R&D results is expected in December 2016. The BREST-OD-300 first criticality is planned for 2019 with the first power to be reached in 2020, the conference papers say.

In 2015-2018 lifetime performance of the reactor components are to be determined and the detailed design is to be refined to become appropriate for the operating license application. Working documents and equipment manufacture is planned for 2016-2019. In 2013 under this project the terms of reference for fuel rod and fuel assembly fabrication were approved, reactor pressure vessel bottom mock-up was developed, and experimental work started.

Pershukov also said ROSATOM was considering inviting foreign investors in the Proryv Project. In exchange there may be a relieved licensing of the technology or the right to supply the technology to third countries. At that, the potential partners should possess allied non-nuclear technologies or operate nuclear power plants. Pershukov thinks the involvement of foreign investors will expedite implementation of the Proryv Project and use ROSATOM’s budget in a more efficient manner. The project cost is estimated at RUB 100 Billion, of which RUB 40 Billion constitute a company’s funds and RUB 57 Billion are the money from the federal target program.

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